Arguing with a loved one can be tricky. May it be a friend, a parent, a sibling or a lover, if you’re not careful with your words, you might lose them. At some point or another, we have all hurt someone we love in the heat of an argument. So, I came up with few rules to help you argue without destroying the relationship.

#1. They’re not your enemy.

The human mind has a tendency to compete and behave as if the person you’re arguing with is an opponent or the enemy. It may have an evolutionary purpose that helped the primitive man survive. Which is useful in debates but it won’t serve you no good when you’re up against a loved one. No matter what happens, remember that there are no winners and losers in this fight – and also this isn’t a fight.

#2. Avoid arguments when you’re emotional.

Your first impulse would be to flip them off but suppress that impulse. When you’re overwhelmed by emotions, being rational is impossible. You don’t want to insult them or say something that you might regret. It is so easy (and tempting) to throw hurtful words but always remember that you can never take them back. When you argue as you cry, it makes you look like a pouty child who is throwing a tantrum because their mother didn’t buy them what they demanded.

#3. No arguments when they’re emotional either.

The first thing you do when you find yourself in an argument with a hysterical person is to comfort them. However, never ask them to; stop being emotional; stop crying like a baby; calm the fuck down. If you can’t come up with any comforting words, then be quiet. The last thing you want to do is to piss off a bear. If you fail to ground the situation, then be ready for insults. Don’t get hurt. It ain’t personal. Dodge them or leave the place. Walk away, brother! The important thing to remember is that they’re human too which makes them fallible.

#4. You can’t change anyone unless they want to change

Don’t expect that people would be changed by your coherent and well-crafted arguments. This ain’t a movie, son! People don’t magically concede and kneel to your beautiful and inspiring speech. It means that no matter hard you try, you can still fail. Sometimes, they won’t admit it even when there is an overwhelming evidence to prove them wrong. We have a tendency to believe what we want. Yes! you and I too.

#5. Remember that you can be wrong too.

You’re human as your loved one and just as fallible. Take a good look at your beliefs, examine them and put them under the microscope. You should believe in yourself and stand by your beliefs, sure, so the best to way examine your beliefs without breaking them is by writing your arguments down. Then eliminate the weak and emotional arguments. What remains are the strongest arguments. You can evaluate the rest to see if you need to change your beliefs. This process will be helpful when you have an argument on the same topic either with the same person or a different person.

These are not absolute rules that you should follow. But they are more like guidelines that help you steer through a bad storm. Always remember these and that never wage a war you can’t win. So if you realize that you can’t win, try humor. Humor helps. And if you fuck it up, don’t hesitate to apologize.